Net Carbs

Written by Liza Hartung
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With the low carb diet trend growing as it is, we've all heard the term "net carbs" thrown around before. The question is, "What are they?" Are they any different from regular carbs? Can they hurt me? Will they kidnap my children when I'm not looking? No, they're not that bad. When they are kept at low levels, they are actually quite good. Anyone who is on a low carb diet needs to know how to calculate these carbs with ease.

Calculating Net Carbs

It's quite easy to figure out the amount of net carbohydrates you are eating from a particular food. As long as you have the nutritional label and a little bit of addition and subtraction skills, you are all set. Here's what you do: take the total number of carb grams and subtract from it the carb grams listed under fiber and under sugar alcohols. Let me explain why this works.

There are some carbs that influence blood glucose levels and some carbs that don't. The ones that don't do not get counted in the total carb count. They are sort of freebie carbs. When you are doing the Atkins diet, you are not allowed more than 20 grams of net carbohydrates in the initial, two-week induction phase. As you go on, you will be adding grams of carbs in counts of five and ten, based on the phase you are in.

Some of you may be wondering how you count net carbs if you are out to eat. Well, some restaurants and many fast food places like Subway, have it listed for you. There may even be a section of the menu that is dedicated to providing low carb food. In that section, there is generally a listing of nutritional value, including net carbs.

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